SINGAPORE - Opposition veteran Goh Meng Seng and lawyer-activist M. Ravi have become the first two people who do not belong to a political party to declare that they will run in the next general election.
Both men announced their decision separately on Monday.
Mr Goh, 45, said in a Facebook post that he would "be back in politics to contest in the coming general election", while Mr Ravi, 45, announced at a one-hour press conference that he would stand in Ang Mo Kio GRC.
Speaking to The Straits Times yesterday, Mr Goh said he wanted to take on the "half-done" job of democratic reforms in Singapore, which he felt had been neglected by the opposition.
"When the Workers' Party won Aljunied GRC in 2011, it was one of the major milestones for the opposition, so I thought things would change and my mission was over. That was one of the main reasons I took a sabbatical," said the businessman.
"But in these three, four years, it has been quite disappointing. Nobody talks about democratic reform. Needless to say, the WP, with MPs inside Parliament, has more responsibility to do it."
He said he left party politics to focus on his business after the 2011 election.
Mr Goh had contested in two elections, each time with a different political party.
In May 2006, he stood and lost in Aljunied GRC on the WP ticket. He quit the WP six months later to take responsibility for Internet postings which he said had tarnished the party's reputation.
He joined the National Solidarity Party (NSP) in 2007 and was fielded in Tampines GRC in the 2011 polls. He quit it after the polls and left for Hong Kong, but returns to Singapore regularly.
On whether he would join a political party, form his own party or run as an independent, Mr Goh said he would keep his options open.
Meanwhile, Mr Ravi said he would lead a team of independents to challenge the People's Action Party team in Ang Mo Kio GRC, which is led by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
He said he picked the six-MP constituency because 25 per cent of its residents are his relatives, saying he has Chinese and Indian roots. The GRC had about 179,000 voters in the last polls.
Yesterday, he told The Straits Times that blogger Han Hui Hui, 23, and two of his legal interns - Charles Yeo, 24, and Liew Zheng Yang, 23 - have confirmed they would be part of his team.
He had considered blogger Roy Ngerng initially, but later felt the 33-year-old was not suitable as he was "too impulsive".
Mr Ravi is representing Ngerng and Han in a criminal case, for their roles in a Hong Lim Park protest on Sept 27.
Separately, he is also representing Ngerng in a defamation suit brought by PM Lee.
When asked why he chose not to join an existing party, Mr Ravi said he did not trust any of them.
But, he added, he will stay away from any constituency that is being contested by the Reform Party or Singapore Democratic Party.
On what he hopes to achieve in politics, he said his plans include giving free health care to all, lifting all online media regulations and abolishing the death penalty - a cause he has championed for more than 10 years.
He said he has set aside $1 million, saved over the years, for his campaign.
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